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Massive Rally & Protest by Domestic Workers

August 2018
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Demanding Comprehensive Legislation for Domestic Workers and Withdrawal of the draft social security codes

On August 2nd at Parliament street

Ever since the GOI voted for ILO Convention 189, the domestic Workers in India have been demanding a Legislation to protect their rights. The statistics on domestic workers vary from 4.75 million (NSS 2005 data) to 6.4 million (Census data). Some reports say that the number of domestic workers may be up to 90 million in India. Domestic work has been increasing over the years (222% since 1999-2000). While paid domestic work was once a male dominated occupation in pre-independence India (Neetha 2004), today women constitute 71 percent of this sector. National estimates for 2004-5 suggest 4.75 million workers were employed by private households, making domestic work as the largest female occupation in Urban India. The data may be underreported because of several reasons, the main being that domestic work is not treated as ‘real’ work leading to large instances of undeclared work. Secondly, being within the home, domestic workers are largely invisible and thirdly, this can be a part time occupation, with workers taking up other seasonal occupations. The demand for domestic workers is also on the increase.

The National Platform of Domestic Workers which comprises a large number of trade unions and the Central Trade Unions, have decided to push for the demand for Comprehensive Legislation for domestic workers. Based on the National Policy for Domestic Workers that was issued by the GOI in 2011 the NPDW and the CTUS have put together a draft Bill for domestic workers which they have lobbied with a large number of MPs to present in Parliament. Three private member Bills have also been presented. On August 2nd, with a show of strength and over 300000 signatures collected from workers all over the country, a representation will be made to the GOI.

This Protest will also demand a withdrawal of the New Labour Codes proposed by the GOI since 2015. With a critique of the Codes, which are basically an attempt to make business easier while withdrawing all the former gains of the labour movement, this protest also states why the Codes need to be amended. That 93% of workers fall into the informal sector who contribute to the GDP of the country, these Codes also have to protect workers and their rights and not treat them as beneficiaries of welfare.

The protest witnessed a massive rally of more than 5000 domestic workers who marched from Mandi House to Parliament Street demanding comprehensive legislation on social security and withdrawal of draft social security code being proposed by Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India. The domestic workers represented more than 37 unions from 22 states of the country. The rally was addressed by eight (8) Member of Parliaments representing CPI, CPI(M) and several central trade union leaders from INTUC, AITUC, CITU, HMS, TUCC, SEWA and AICCTU. The women leaders representing several women organizations also address the rally and supported the cause.

Hence we request all the media to highlight the issues of this Protest and thereby support this cause.


Anita Juneja



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